Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Something is wrong here...

Something is wrong, very wrong here. Something is very wrong with the fact that Cargill can stay in business after having to recall 36 million pounds of salmonella-tainted turkey, but many small artisan food-makers may not be able to stay in business even after keeping a clean record.

Something is very wrong with the Federal Government knowing about the tainted turkey last year and doing nothing about it.

Something is wrong with the fact that health departments are pushing businesses to produce processed food rather than fresh, locally-sourced food which is healthier, fresher and doesn't have huge transportation costs.

Something is very wrong with how our "food safety" is mishandled by politics (thanks to lobbying efforts?). Foods that are government inspected and therefore sold as safe, are found to include foods that are not safe, but sicken and even kill... and the government lets the manufacturers get away with it with just a slap on the wrist (maybe they get a slap, but often not)!

Meanwhile small local farmers, artisan food-makers and small business owners who haven't killed anyone with foods are being forced out of business, often with no legal justification at all except harassment, and forced to defend themselves (guilty until proven innocent?) with enormous fines and costly legal fees. Some are even swooped upon with guns as though they were terrorists, and jailed.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the U.S. Federal Government knew in 2010 about the dangerous form of salmonella in Cargill ground turkey, but didn't move for a recall until an outbreak killed one person and sickened 77 others this year.

Cargill and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the recall of 36 Million pounds of ground turkey on Aug. 3, 2011. The USDA said it's the third-largest meat recall in history.

At a time when the federal government is conducting SWAT-style armed raids on raw milk farmers, accusing them of selling “pathogenic” milk, another regulatory department of this same government brazenly stands by and allows deadly pathogen-contaminated meat to be openly sold without offering any warning whatsoever to the public.

It's not just the Feds after raw milk either. Many state officials are acting in a similar manner against other edibles, perhaps pressured to do so by the Feds? And, who is pressuring the Feds??? The State of Illinois is shutting down local, artisan ice cream makers for such terrible offenses as using non-irradiated fresh fruit instead of fruit syrup, and fresh cream instead of pre-packaged soft serve mix. 

2 months ago, at the prompting of the FDA, US Marshals raided Wyldewood Cellars (Kansas), producer of natural elderberry juice, and confiscated the entire stock of product, claiming it is an “unapproved drug”. 

Last Fall, Federal agents arrived unannounced at Camino de Paz Montessori School and Farm (New Mexico) on supposed suspicion of marijuana. After scouring the premises and terrorizing teachers and students, they found nothing but fruits, vegetables, and other produce.  

Last summer, officials from various health and law enforcement agencies raided the personal home of Rae Lynn Sandvig (Minnesota), a raw milk and local food consumer, for allegedly “assisting in the sale of raw milk” from her home by sharing food with neighbors!  

There is a very interesting time-line posted here, showing the stepped-up (increasing) number of raids conducted by the Feds from 1985 to the present, complete with links and the outcomes. (The outcomes almost all show the individual and small business as eventually legally prevailing although at a very high cost that includes loss of their homes, business including inventory, and reputation.)

These are among the reasons I generally buy only local produce and local free-range meats. I choose to support the small local farmers and businesses with my pocketbook and now I choose to use my Voice of Outrage at what officials are trying to do... and continue to use my Voice of Encouragement to keep locavores and family farmers fighting for our food rights. Supporting with my vote hasn't worked because BigAg/BigPharma can and does outspend us to sway legislation. (If you are uncertain of that fact, just look at the mess in Congress.)


  1. I completely and totally agree with everything you've said here. The only thing I have working aganst me is money. Sometimes it's way more expensive to eat locally using quality ingredients than it is to just hit up a big box store and get dirty food cheaply. Still I'm biting the bullet and going with the best quality ingredients for my family. Thanks for a great post.

  2. How well I know the struggle about money, since my income is below the federal poverty level. That's one of the reasons I grow a garden, make cheese, charcuterie...

    Like most of us, I do what I can manage!

  3. i like your Voice of Outrage. Yes, interesting time line and it is happening all over and quite under reported. While each raid serves to radicalize locally because of the over the top use of show of force it also keeps witnesses quiet without "gag"orders.

  4. Ahh, but there ARE gag orders in many circumstances. Sigh.

  5. Totally agree with you.. they are investing a lot of effort and finances chasing the wrong "offenders". They can run these raids.. using large groups of people.. a lot of man-hours.. and yet not find the time to inspect large factories? I find that beyond ridiculous.

    Due to financial constraints this year.. we've essentially fed ourselves mostly off our gardens, trading with other organic gardeners, foraging, etc. Huge difference in health. I've dropped 30 pounds and that wasn't even my goal. Just switching to real (home-grown) food gave me the energy and the ability to do so much more. The gardens have become our "job" while we hope for employment.

    My pride (still can't bring myself to seek financial assistance) may have paid off in this case... well.. at least in that aspect. Still hoping for work.. and will always keep this current dietary adjustments.

  6. oh... this'll get ya going too. Way to invade a bunny farm.

  7. Anne, yes, it is totally ridiculous!

    I did great with increased energy and health plus the surprise weight loss last year pretty much on the same plan you are on.

    Unfortunately, I fell off that wagon into a pile of cheap sugars and starchy carbs. :(

    Gotta get back to 100% real foods!

  8. Anne, taking bunnies hostage is just plain stupid. The sheriff's men should be housed to accompany them.

  9. It almost looks as if the fed is trying to make sure the only game in town is their centrally controlled one and dependent on federal transportation. Would be a sure way to keep the peasants in line wouldn't it?

  10. The Government is tring to make new laws so you can not grow or raise your own food so that big business will have the whole market on the food supplies in irac the gov. Made new laws that you can not save your own seeds so that they have to buy seed from Monsanto and Dow Corp. And the new laws in this country are to stop ALL organic foods so we will only dependant on the large corp. For our food supplies.
    All I have to say about this to save your own seeds and alternate your crops for your familys health and well being and grow your own meat so you know that they are hormone FREE

  11. I've said it before, but I think it bears repeating, that it seems that ("love of") money is the driving force behind most of this insanity. When people have a choice - and the TRUTH - about the differences between factory-farming methods and results vs. old-fashioned farming methods and results, they most often choose the real thing. When they make informed choices, the factory farms lose money, and the FDA and other govt. agencies lose money.

    It's a very frustrating scenario, especially when what is good is portrayed to be bad (and vice-versa) with seemingly little regard for people's well-being and their right to choose for themselves based on ACCURATE information.

    When we become afraid of ACCURATE INFORMATION and a choice in these matters, surely someone has something to fear - and I don't think it's the traditional farmers!

  12. I agree, it's all about money. I'm not impressed by Obama's Town Hall Rally held Aug. 15 at Seed Savers Exchange (known for saving and sharing heirloom seeds for biodiversity) in Iowa when he so clearly supports Monsanto in his policies.

  13. Agreed the location is misleading as Obama is completely without a clue. He flat out doesn't garden, and neither does Michelle. They have a garden.. paid for by the taxpayers and managed by those who attend it.. even soil brought in by Rutgers if I remember correct (possibly Cornell?)

    Their garden.. is a prop. They do not have any actual idea about the impact of GMO, what the seed industry is going through, or even any basic agricultural updates.. It's comparable to asking Donald Trump to perform neurosurgery.

    The information is not easily available. Huge problem. Reason for it is possibly because big Ag doesn't want it known. The assumption is that food is safe. We've fallen into consumer complacency.. regarding the single most important thing all creatures must do to survive. Europe's focus is not only health.. but quality of the food. Their rep is of artisan excellence created over endless generations. Totally different lifestyle. Quality over quickness. Meals are to be savored, not inhaled. Meals.. matter.

    Then again.. the typical American also gets less than 1/2 their vacation time.. less benefits.. etc. Our "norm" would be their hell.

    Monsanto has already dabbled in Europe's laws. Resulting in needing to go to authorized seed cleaning facilities to "protect" consumers from essentially diseased seeds, unwanted pathogen transfers, etc. The is sort of a version of a "Seed Saver's Exchange" in Europe.. except that seed swapping is essentially illegal. As in legally.. Grandma nextdoor can't give you seeds from the family's cherished line of fennel.

    Hence.. need to buy seeds.. and "legal" seeds must go through the cleaners and distributors.. take a wild guess who is buying up those companies..

    As long as the grocery store shelves are full, and as long as the food is cheap.. it is taken for granted that food is "safe and healthy". Apple slices from McDonald..

    Conventional farming lets 1 farmer grow a LOT more than other methods. "Keep their bellies full, and their minds empty." They don't want you to look too close. Reality is we don't have many options to keep the masses fed. Monsanto, Dow, Bayer.. aren't wanting to keep people healthy.. they want to control the food market.. and then there are the pharmaceuticals should you get sick..


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